Cosmic an alternative to gnome in near future?

Looks like system 76 wants to write its own shell and replace gnome with its own DE written in Rust. Although seems they still will use some gtk components.

Excited? Can they pull it off? Summary can be found in this article:


From the OMG link:

Recent disagreements between System76 engineers and the GNOME developers are said to not have hastened the potential switch to a home-grown shell.

IIRC, that was quite some disagreement. See this for example. Even Budgie is looking elsewhere: link.


I think system 76 already made the switch to pop OS realizing that they do not want the DE depending too much on Ubuntu and it was just a matter of time they would have enough of extensions for patching gnome.

I was also thinking perhaps budgie should team up with them…

Well you see the thing about that…

@JoshStrobl mmstick is a System76 employee and he mentioned it being in Rust here. Their launcher service is already written in Rust and they are gradually replacing their JavaScript-based services with Rust ones.

@fulmen Any possible synergy?

@JoshStrobl I doubt they have any plans on switching away from GTK, so probably not.
We’re using different technologies, different programming languages, different toolkits, and executing on a different vision of a desktop environment. There isn’t much to really collaborate on. Let’s not try to force things or have a bunch of comments trying to push for it, and keep things on topic. This thread has been getting a bit out of hand.

They’re always welcome to use EFL. If they’re not, then there isn’t really any place for collaboration.


Collaboration makes sense if it benefits both parties involved, but I think in this particular case the goals for these respective projects are very different and how best to achieve those goals appears to be fundamentally dissimilar. It’s still early on in the process, so who is to say what may or may not be in the hopefully not to distant future, but in the meantime I’ll be watching with curious eyes the developments of both System76 and Solus. As a Gnome user, I have a love/hate relationship with Gnome (to an extent GTK), so I am eager to see more choices being put forth for users. How these implementations compare to each other and what they’re branching off from remains to be seen. For now I wish them all well in their future undertakings for their projects.

From that article, Joey from OMGUbuntu sums this up way better than I could how exactly how I feel about this:

Joey Sneddon: Pushing the boundaries and exploring alternative avenues are healthy and should be encouraged. And even if those endeavours ultimately amount to nothing, our collective pool of knowledge is always better for someone having tried and failed to do something, then never tried at all.

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Thanks for the info. I do not know enough about the details of what they want to do, but also read up and listed to podcasts on budgie wanting to replace GTK by EFL. My personal opinion is that both could leverage from each other, seems that budgie developers know what they do, and system 76 is a great company to work with and provides code open source. They may have a different vision on the final product, but under the hood, more workforce would make things easier. But as said above, such collaborations have to happen organically for sure.

Essentially as it stands now PopOS wants a DE written from scratch in Rust, but also keep certain Gnome/GTK components until a possible Rust comparable option is available. Rust is still new, but looks like the future for developers. Solus on the other hand wants to go all in on EFL. Best I can put it, one wants to hold Gnomes hand for a while longer and the other wants to nuke it out of orbit. Collaboration would be nice, but it doesn’t matter what I think would be best, so much as what’s the most practical and best solutions for the individual dev teams, the goals they have, and the resources at their disposal that truly matters. And for that no one knows better than the dev teams themselves.


IMO, there’s potential for EFL, I don’t really dislike Enlightenment, but KDE keeps calling me back. I also like the eye-candy factor of Deepin and Elementary. Something different usually makes me happy to try it.
I tend to think anything that’s not GNOME is a good thing. It’s my least favorite DE. In the early days way back when I liked it…but now…I wish it would drop into a hole and burst into flame :slight_smile: I just can’t deal with their rigid (this is the way we want it), I mean they can do things their way, but I don’t have to like or use it.
I hope that both Solus and POP share early technical models, but figure they probably won’t till they’re at least at beta, because of people who complain that it’s awful, horrible, buggy (not apparently understanding the idea of early feedback).

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This is excellent news, especially if they manage to get a big chunk of GNOME’s market share.

And it’s going to be written in Rust :bearded_person:t4:


Just one question: why another desktop environment? There are already:

  1. Budgie
  2. Gnome
  3. Plasma
  4. Mate-Desktop
  5. Xfce
  6. Deepin
  7. Lxqt / Lxde
  8. Cinnamon

And I stayed with the “mature” ones…

I guess the article answers that. They cannot collaborate with Gnome and probably they couldn’t find what they were looking for in the other DEs.
Since they have their feedback but cannot influence the direction the DEs move, they cannot fulfill a promise to their customers so this move makes sense from a business perspective. Them not being your typical “I have time on my hands let’s contribute to an OSS project” but rather “We have a business which we want to grow and have resources to invest”. It’s not a matter of OSS fragmenting again, but of a business investing in better experience for their customers.


I do not read the article. My bad!

So for a few hundred people, maybe one or two thousand, there is going to be a new desktop environment?

It reminds me a Jean de la Fontaine poetry “La Grenouille qui se veut faire aussi grosse que le Bœuf” → “The Frog that wants to be as big as the Ox”

It ends this way:

“The world is full of people who are not wiser:
Every Bourgeois wants to build like the great Lords,
Every little Prince has Ambassadors,
Every Marquis wants to have Pages.”

The result is more fragmentation in order to satisfy 0.01% of linux users, or so.

It’s not for us to answer this. They know their customer base size, and they know the resources they can put into this thing and if it makes sense from their business’ perspective. They pay those people, so I guess they might just as well have something that looks and feels exactly how they want it to.

I agree, but again, this is supposed to be a commercial product. Their goals and OSS goals might not overlap completely. System76’s move is not about Linux as a whole but about their product.

I’d add to this, there are many disgruntled Linux users, unhappy with the direction their favorite DE has turned. Just check this forum, there’s a lot of love/hate relationships with the DE in use. I guess the fragmentation can’t be helped if the projects are deaf to their users’ feedback.

Am I happy with my DE? Almost. Am I annoyed by it? Sometimes. Would I test a new DE? Maybe in a couple years after its release, after it becomes clear that it’s not a fad or a project that’s going nowhere, and after the bugs have been ironed out.

Does this fragmentation hurt Linux, will software developers have to accommodate a new compatibility point? Yes and no. It will in the end fall on System76 to make sure the software works with their product. If they fail they will have unhappy customers. I’m sure they have enough smart heads in their teams to factor all these things in. Or maybe not, in which case they will fail and become history.

Well, you can choose to run into a wall if you want to do so :slight_smile:

Well, good luck to System76… With a little luck, they will have something usable in a year or so.

This is not new. I remember a short lived gnome fork (back Gnome 2.4/2.6 era) called Gone Me.

This is why I think System76 is running into a wall.

It will mainly hurt System76.

Like dozens of projects before. Free Software world is sometimes like an headless duck: running without any ideas where to go.


I’m about to head off for a bit so I don’t have the time, but if you read over the comments user mmstick made on this post below (he’s a System76 dev), you’ll see he answered pretty much all of your questions and concerns there. I’d compile them for you here, but right now I need some sleep!

Enjoy reading :slight_smile:

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Well if they do pull it of they will be in a unique position of being the apple of the Linux world. Will it happen it could be all pipe dreams at the end of the day

i think there’s a lot of people who just really like PopOS as it is, and the project is doing really well. The downside is their entire DE is really GNOME 3.38 with extension to create “the Pop experience.”

I’m guess it’s very difficult to recreate in GNOME 40+ . . . And they want to keep that for their current users - who all don’t really seem to want it to change.


A silly answer (but true): Because GNOME1 sucks and anything that is meant to replace it is a most welcome addition! :rofl:

A more serious answer: Why not? Can there be such a thing as too many desktop enviornments?

1Both the developers and their product, but the former especially.


Well… I was a gnome user between version 2.14 to 3.14 or 3.16, then I switched to xfce (one year or so), Mate (around two years) and went back to Gnome around version 3.36/3.38.

KDE? Only used it for two or three months back in KDE 4.3 era. Never came back to it after.

I’ll read it later. But I do not think this project will live longer than 2 or 3 years. To be kind with it.

I don’t see your point, but maybe you’ll like Cosmic :slight_smile:

Maybe they’ll give up soon, maybe they’ll create something special. Time will tell. You’re pessimistic about it, they are optimistic and I am neutral, but I do wish them all the best with it. I quite like System76 and what they are doing with Linux, but in the end, whatever the outcome, it won’t hurt me. And if they manage to displace GNOME, all the better! :partying_face: